Million Minds

Living with a dissociative disorder

I asked for this

No, no, I did not ask for the abuse, if that’s what you are thinking I mean.

A month or so ago (?), I said to myself/my brain, “Look, I want to remember.  I want to process this stuff and move on with my life.”  I asked whatever part of me is blocking to step aside.

I have already written about this, but I expected something like movie reel memories.  I knew they would be difficult, but I guess I thought it would be sort of like watching them on a screen.  There would be feelings involved, of course (ew, yuck, not FEEEEEEEEELINGS), and they would be painful, but hey, at least I’d know what was going on.  I’d have my neat, tidy memories and I’d figure out how to unwrap them, process them, and then let them go.

Oh, how naive!  I figured out quickly that it wasn’t going to be like that (see this post).

Here’s how it appears it is going to be, at least for now:

I cannot sleep at night.  The only hope I have some nights for sleeping while it is dark is drugs, which for various reasons aren’t usually an option and usually don’t work anyway.  I am physically miserable all night long, and it’s a combination of anxiety and things that I can connect to abuse, even if I can’t connect them to specific memories.  It is awful.  If I get up and do something, I feel better, so I wonder if I shouldn’t just become nocturnal for a few weeks while this stuff gets sorted out.  I know the whole thing isn’t going to get sorted out in a few weeks, but my next therapy session is going to try to address this body stuff that is keeping me awake.  We worked a little on it last session, and it helped some.  I had a few decent nights after that.  And I’ve actually done alright, but last night was terrible, so my perspective is skewed.  What’s funny is that the moment it becomes the tiniest bit light outside, I conk out with no problem.  It’s like a switch gets flipped.  Of course, during the school year, this is when I would need to be getting up!

But anyway, it’s interesting to think, okay, I asked for information from myself, and wow, I am getting it.  I may not understand it completely, but the message is loud and clear.   The message is that my body experienced extremely unpleasant things.  That dread and shame and fear and anxiety and disgust and deep sadness are all pieces of my experience.  I say to myself in the night, “This is intolerable.  I cannot live another minute of this.”  That is me, as an adult, trying to process these feelings from childhood, tapping into them just enough to see that they are overwhelming.  And then I get it.  I understand the dissociation and the compartmentalizing and the amnesia and all of it.

I’m grateful that the parts of me that hold this are sharing it with me.  (I so don’t like that language, but it’s the best I’ve got. It sounds so corny.)  It’s incredibly unpleasant, but I must believe deep down that this is the way out of this.  This cannot last forever.  I hope that by experiencing it and, I hope, processing it in therapy (as horrifying and impossible as that sounds, I know I have to try), I can unwrap it and set it aside and let it go.  It’s not in the neat package I wanted.  Maybe it’s more that I need to wrap it up, take the chaos and confusion and create the package, not as a buried container but as a safe place to store it.  Hmmm.  Need to find a new metaphor here, clearly.  I like this idea of containing it, but not closing it up.  I think it needs to become part of me, not shut off, but also not spewing all over the rest of my life.

Advertisements

August 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blergh

I’m feeling pretty crappy today.

On the plus side, I got myself up and going this morning, in spite of an extreme desire to stay in bed and watch tv all day.  (And I could have done that pretty easily.)  Instead, I got up, went to school to do some work, had a very interesting lunch with a former student, did some more work, went grocery shopping, did the dishes, framed some of Boo’s artwork.  In other words, had a pretty damn productive day for someone who is depressed and completely unmotivated.  Boo and Husband are away, so it’s really really tempting to just say screw it and curl up under covers.  I’m glad I overcame inertia and got out.

On the minus side, I really don’t feel well.  This started I guess about a week ago (?).  I had a night where I was up all night with some weird physical anxiety stuff that I don’t even want to try to describe.  It’s not flashbacks or memories, but it’s just completely intolerably awful.  (Well, I say that, but I am apparently tolerating it!  It just feels intolerable while it is happening.  It’s like I want to rip all my skin off in order to not have to be inside of it or something, and I have to tense up my muscles every 30 seconds or so, and I feel nauseous.)  I had a few awful nights (and days, but it’s worse at night because everything is worse at night), and then I had therapy, which helped get me to a place where the feeling isn’t nearly so frequent, but it still keeps coming and going.  I almost fell apart in therapy at the thought of having to go home and try to go to sleep that night, so really, I am quite grateful to not be feeling anywhere near that lousy now, but I’m still sick to death of this thing.  And I’m just kind of overall feeling blue and a bit overwhelmed.

I know that this is part of the process.  I know this is abuse-related, and while I’m not writing about the connections, I am making them, and I am doing the work.  The work sucks.

I have also really started to tap into the whole shame aspect of this stuff, and wow, that really, really sucks.  I have sort of been all, “la la la, I don’t know why people talk so much about shame; I don’t get it; I don’t really feel shame.”  HA HA HA.  I feel it; it is just compartmentalized like everything else.  And yeah, I get why people talk so much about it.  It’s huge.

So, between anxiety and shame, let’s just say it hasn’t been a fun week in my world.

Onward. . .

August 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sleep

I have just slept for 16 hours.  I tried to get up at one point, ate some cereal, and was back down for another 3 hours.  But I think I am up now.  I guess the quiet intensity of yesterday’s session was more exhausting than I thought.  I do think they are connected–I’m not sick or anything.

My thought for today relates to something I read last night, as well as something we talked about in session yesterday.  I was talking about my fear of “lying” unconsciously, or misremembering.  While most of my silence comes from lack of language, some comes from a fear of saying something untrue.  False Memory Syndrome stuff.  You don’t want to accuse someone of something awful unless you are SURE it actually happened, or at least I don’t.  It has been a big barrier.  But what I read last night was this:  “You can’t make up feelings.”  And so I think the way into the dream world is through feelings, not memories.  And that was how it was yesterday.  And I think once in there (or once the door is opened for it to come into this world), it will become easier to put language to the things I feel and know.  And I am going to try not to worry about being Correct so much as just experiencing the feelings.  The reasons for them are there, and I am going to learn to talk about them, but I think the way around that barrier is not to push through it, but go around the side of it.  I have no doubt that my feelings are real and are attached to something real.  My body, my reactions, my feelings are the evidence, even if I don’t always know the exact crime.

I was also thinking about identity, and how I don’t want to define myself by this journey, but at the same time, I’m aware that at this point in my life, it is a big part of my identity, this process.  I don’t think it will hold the same place (god, I hope not!) 5 years from now or 10 years from now.  And other things hold just as important places–family, friends, work–but just aren’t the focus on this blog.  I like this idea of therapy once a week, and writing to T and blogging, as spaces where this process is my world, but then my life is full of other spaces.  That’s how it is.  Maybe I just wanted to post that here because my writing here might make it seem like this is all I am.

My connection to the dream world is almost all gone right now.  (I know it will come back, but just that sense of it is gone.)  I slept it away.  It seems like it itself was a dream.  I wish I had recorded my therapy session because it has slipped away as well, and I want to be able to reach back and touch it and know it was real.  I need to get over my fear of recording.

July 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post-therapy

Well, that was probably one of the best therapy sessions I have ever had.  One, I was just happy to be there again, to see T and be in that space.  But most of all, I just felt so much in sync with T.  I got briefly upset at a little mistake she made, but instead of like a year ago where that would have thrown off the entire session, it was easy to get back on track and move forward.

We talked a lot about the dream world, how I need to create a language for it so I can talk to her about it.  We have discussed this before, but it was a deeper conversation this time.  We talked about some other things I had written over the break as well, but it seems like the bulk was about the dream world and the limits of language.  I defined the dream world as energy behind a door.

As I was driving home, I realized that the session was powerful for me because the door was cracked open and the energy was flowing out like a river, and I had a toe in it.  I wasn’t immersed in it, but if you put a toe into the energy, it runs through your body like electricity (but not in a bad way, not like a shock).

It’s a very interesting feeling.  I was trying to describe it just now in an email to T.  I wrote this:

the energy is intelligent
like, if i feel it in me, i feel like, even though i don’t have any language for it, i am smarter or more sharply aware of something that is very vast, like i am having a connection to a whole other world
not just my other world of things on the lower level but a whole other WORLD

this is how people start believing in god and angels, because they could feel another world and it feels like the energy is like a spiritual thing

this gets confused in me with the dark world of the past because somehow they are connected, but the energy is not bad.  i think i am using the same language sometimes for these different things, but i think there is a reason for it, even if i don’t know what it is yet.

So, um, I don’t really know what the heck all of that is about, but it’s a pretty powerful and almost psychedelic kind of feeling.  It’s very, very calm and quiet, but powerful at the same time.  When I was feeling most connected to the energy and to T tonight, I felt at peace.  I do not generally consider therapy to be a spiritual experience–it’s not really that kind of thing–so this is a bit freaky to be feeling this way.  And no, I am not on any drugs!

I don’t know what to think, but I think it’s a positive thing.  I feel calm and happy and relieved.

July 19, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A memory

Wow.  I am raw today.  It’s okay–I’m not overwhelmed and I am breathing and everything.  But I am SAD.

I was writing to T.  I see her tomorrow, finally, and as I get closer to that, things are ramping up.  The energy is high; the barriers between myself and parts are fuzzier; I’m feeling things strongly.

As I was writing, I started worrying about throwing up in session.  I don’t know if I have written about this before.  I very often feel like I am about to throw up there, but it has not happened.  Yet.  I’m pretty sure it will, and the idea of it is absolutely terrifying to me.  I know (KNOW!) that T will not get upset with me, but I fear (FEAR!) that she will.  This is not about T–this is clearly transference. My mother would be angry, but T?  Not at all.  Even if I missed the trash can and puked on the floor, she has assured me that it would not be a problem.  She says, “Would you be doing it on purpose?”  Of course not!  “Then why on earth would it be a problem? How would it make sense to be angry about something you can’t control?”  (And I’m pretty sure she still wouldn’t be mad even if I did it on purpose.  She would be all rational and shit about it.  She never gets angry with me.)

MT

And I re-remembered something from when I was little.  I was sick, and my mother had taken me to the doctor.  The doctor was taking my temperature (rectally) and I threw up.  My mother was angry and embarrassed; I was embarrassed and ashamed; I suspect I was also triggered by the temp taking.  It is a very brief but very vividly miserable memory.  I don’t know if it is part of the source of my fear about getting sick in session.  As a kid, I had a pretty sensitive stomach–I have plenty of puking stories.  The other most vivid one is of being sick with a bug but begging to sit on my grandfather’s lap anyway.  He made me promise to not throw up on him.  Of course, I puked on him, and he had to go back to their hotel to change, and again, I was ashamed and embarrassed and miserable.

I was basically one of those kids who rarely made it to the bathroom, and my mother was one of those people who got super irked by that.

 

I still have a sensitive stomach, and when I get sick, I often get terrified, even though I really should be used to it by now.  I feel like I am dying and get scared, and then I tell myself that of course I am not dying since this happens to me a lot and I am still not dead.

But more than the whole throwing up issue, I just feel a lot of energy and desire to see and talk to T.  To process some of the things I’ve been thinking about and feeling, and just be reassured of her continued presence and caring.  It will be good to reconnect.

July 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

3 a.m. post

It’s 3:16 a.m. as I begin this post.  I tried to sleep, but I am pretty much accepting the fact that I am going to be nocturnal all summer.  I reliably get sleepy as the sun comes up, but rarely before then.

So, I’m awake most nights, but tonight is a bit different.  I’ve been somewhat numbed out lately, or at least not really thinking or feeling deeply about things.  Tonight, it’s like a crack formed in the wall and all of this energy is seeping out into this world.

I think of the past as a separate world, a sort of dream world that I can’t quite grasp.  Sometimes it spills out into this world, and I might remember (or re-remember, to be more precise) things or have intense emotions or feel like I have no skin.  This is kind of different from what I am used to, and I decided to write to see if I could sort out how.

This feels anticipatory, like I am standing next to the crack in the wall and sort of observing the energy flowing out from it, rather than really tapping into it.  But the observation is not distant.  It’s like, “okay, here is this stream, and I am about to dive into it.”  Summer is the time where I have the space/energy to do that, and for once in my life, I feel somewhat ready.  I know I’ve been talking about it forever, and I also know that I have been dipping toes into the stream for the last 5 years or so.  This just feels different somehow.  I am frightened, but not overwhelmed by the fear.

That said, I have a strong sense that diving into the stream is going to mean tapping into overwhelming fear, but within the safe confines of a therapy office (I hope) and with what seems to be an increasingly solid capacity to step back out when I need to.  For as long as I can remember, it has felt like entering the dream world would kill me.  Literally.  Either via some magical outcome (if I talk, they will know and kill me) or via some kind of nervous breakdown that might not kill my physically but would take me so far out of this world, I could never get back.  I now feel much more confident about being able to get back, but it’s still a fear.  The magical thinking is still an issue as well, but only when I get closer than I am now to talking.

The dream world is so different from this one.  I wrote this earlier to T:

if you go into the dream it is going to look very different from what is here in this world
you could be a little bit staying in this world with your hand on the wall but it is still very different

you can’t come there
you are in this world and not that one
that’s why there is no talking
it’s not words in that world so this world’s words don’t work there
so there is no talking

There is nothing new in this.  I think I have been essentially writing that same email to her for 4 years.  The hand on the wall is something I remember vividly doing.  Well, back then it was a hand on the headboard of my bed.  There were little stickers on it (can’t remember what of) with white outlines, and I would trace the outlines over and over with my finger.  I sense that this is so vivid because it was an important way to stay grounded in the real world.  Now, when I get anxious or overwhelmed, I put my hand flat against the wall, which accomplishes the same sort of thing.

I don’t know if it sounds strange, but the best way I can express my fear in language is to say that I am afraid of being unable to get back to this world.  The dream world is so radically different.  It’s not a fear of going crazy (I used to fear that).  I don’t know what it is.  Maybe it’s just a fear of feelings.  That’s probably what it actually is, and it just feels like a dream world because it’s so foreign.  And also a fear of being alone there.  In this world, in the way I inhabit it, I have connections to other people–important, rich, valuable connections.  In that world, I have none–or at least, no good ones.  The email is about wanting T to come to that world, but recognizing that she can’t.  The “you” in the first section is me, but in the second, it is T.  I have to bring that world into this one and give language to it, make it part of the connections I have in this one.

I have understood this task for a long time, but only now do I feel that I am truly approaching it.  I have therapy on Friday, first session after a 3-week break.  Since it’s post-break, I have no idea what I will accomplish (typically, that’s a chatty session, reacquainting rather than doing much work), but it could be interesting.

I also think I might start recording sessions.  T has wanted me to do this for ages, but I hate the idea of hearing my own voice.  But it might be useful.  I’m considering it.

July 18, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Memory

I’ve been thinking a lot about memory.

One of my frustrations is that, in trying to approach Stage 2 (processing of traumatic memories), I run into a wall when I try to find a solid memory to process.  I want to have something like a movie clip run in my head, and then I can dissect it.  But really, my memory has never worked that way for anything, so why would I expect that for memories of abuse?  That’s nuts!  This morning I decided to randomly pick an important, non-traumatic memory to think about as a comparison, so I picked my wedding.  It’s not that I don’t have a memory of my wedding, but most of the memory is informational rather than visual or experiential.  I know it was really hot, but my actual memory of that is just a tiny fragment of standing outside and waiting for my brother-in-law (who was late and was best man) to arrive, and worrying about how hot everyone was.  I remember going inside to wait–just a fragment of standing in the building and being reassured by the minister that it was okay that BIL was late.  I remember walking outside to the driveway with my almost-husband as he was preparing to leave to go try to find BIL (we were worried he had been in an accident), and then seeing BIL pull in.  I vaguely remember getting choked up when my nephew handed us the rings.  I don’t remember saying our vows.  I don’t have a movie reel of the whole day.  It’s just tiny pieces that add up to the day.  Same thing with the birth of my daughter–that one is complicated by pain and worry and whatnot, but maybe that makes it more relevant here.  My point is that it’s all, when I look closely at it, somewhat fuzzy, or at least somewhat fragmented and disjointed.  Either that is the nature of memory itself, or the nature of how memory works for me.

For my childhood, there are chunks of time with, as far as I can tell, no fragments.  But I have a decent sense of my history that can be cobbled together with what I have.  I have things that, like my wedding, can be recreated somewhat reasonably, and I have an overall sense of what life was like.  I mean, I know where I lived, and where I went to school, and who my friends were. I don’t know what is normal here, but for me, it’s like this:  I know my best friend in 6th grade was a girl named Amy.  I have a handful of fragments of memory of her:  being on our boat in the summer; shoplifting in this little Hallmark-type store; her mom giving her a knock-off Cabbage Patch kid (which I then saved my money to be able to get for myself); playing Atari in her house. Just little snippets of these things.  That’s how it works, right?

So, why on earth am I agonizing over the fact that I don’t have some kind of movie reel of abuse?

The other thing is that, if you are being sexually abused, you shut off as much sensory input as you can.  You aren’t trying to record things; you are trying to erase them as they happen.  It doesn’t work, so you still end up with fragments.  If you are me, you end up with these weird sort of body memories and reactions that feel disconnected from reality.  Or very quick visual pieces that are enough to cause anxiety but not enough to form a narrative.  But also, that sort of informational kind of memory.  “I went to X Elementary School.”  “My mom was a creeper.”  The fragments add up to the information, I guess, or maybe the information comes from another place.  I’m not sure.

I’m not sure if there are richer memories to be discovered.  I suspect not.  I suspect that what is coming for me is the ability to look at the fragments and piece them together, instead of running away mentally in panic at the very suggestion of them.  Right now, if my mother or stepfather come up in therapy just as a concept, there’s a 90% chance I’m going to start feeling ill and ask for the trash can and freeze up and go into a panic mode.  At some point, I would hope, I can move past (through?) that and look at whatever fragment or idea is causing that reaction.  I have some pieces already that would be worth looking at, but I haven’t ever been able to do the looking.

It’s hard.  I just got a fragment of a hand over my mouth.  I know it is his (stepfather’s) hand.  I know it.  But it’s not anything more than that–just a split second of a hand over my mouth.  Nothing else.  It’s something I can’t see, but it’s like something I can feel in my memory.  I know there’s anxiety attached to it, but I don’t feel that very much–just an echo of it.  So I don’t know how you process something like that.  There’s nothing to process–it’s too tiny.  So much of my life feels that way.  It’s like I know the moments add up to a narrative, but how do you create one when everything is just little pieces, and then on top of that the pieces are held by different parts of yourself?  The anxiety of the hand is in a separate place from the informational memory of it, which is different from whatever kind of memory I just had, which was sort of like a sideways glance at it or something but also sort of like feeling it.  (I don’t know if “informational memory” works as a phrase.  It’s the memory or knowledge of the fact of the thing.)

I don’t know what I’m trying to say.  If anyone is reading this and knows what the heck I’m talking about, feel free to comment!  I have talked before in therapy and maybe on here about things being “to the side.”  So much of what I remember feels like it is next to me.  Like it wasn’t me who experienced it, but someone both inside me and next to me.  If I want to remember, I have to look to the side.  I don’t feel that way about my wedding or Boo’s birth–those feel like me.  The hand on my mouth feels like me, but it’s like the me part of it is just the informational part of it.  The physical experience is to the side of me but also clearly inside of me.  I mean, it’s not like watching a whole separate person, but it’s also not like experiencing it myself.  It’s this weird hybrid or something.  And actually, Boo’s birth is probably similar.  I can remember being in extreme pain and holding the bed railing, and my husband tried to pry my hand off to hold it, and I said, “Do not move my hand.”  I remember that, but it kind of feels like it is to the side of me, a story I am telling about someone who is not me.  Maybe that is just what memory is like.

I’m rambling.  Sorry.  I am just trying to understand how memory works.  I think I need to do some research.  I have read about memory a lot, and about trauma memory, but I apparently need a refresher.

July 9, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Connected!

Well, so much for worrying about being disconnected.  I am home from therapy, and it was a good session.  Not super intense, but regularly intense, with plenty of feelings and a good sense of connection.  I wonder if this is yet another sign of progress.  I don’t know that I’ve ever gone into a 3-week break feeling like this.  I imagine there will be push/pull as usual over the break, but I hope I am not naive in thinking it will be better than a year ago.

We talked about my mother some–my favorite topic (not).  I have asked for homework over the break, because I want to be productive with my summer, and T talked a little about what she is going to give me for homework–she’s going to email it to me because she wants to think about it a bit more first.  But anyway, I guess I will be doing some thinking and writing about my mother, among other things.

T asked me if I felt ready to say the statement, “I was sexually abused,” with no qualifiers.  And in spite of all the work I’ve done, I still hesitated, but I was able to say it.  It’s interesting because I understand that the statement is true, and there really isn’t room for doubt anymore, but saying it was still difficult.  I still have moments where it is preferable to believe I am crazy/psychotic/delusional, I guess, even though of course I wouldn’t actually prefer that at all.  It’s just denial and anxiety about the reality, I guess.

We also talked about the possibility (dependent upon a few currently unknown variables) of moving my session time to allow for slightly longer sessions (75 min instead of 60).  I really hope this works out, because I think it would help immensely.  This was T’s idea, because she thinks it would be good to have some extra time for grounding.

So, all in all, a good session.  There was some switching and some talking from parts–nothing dramatic, but enough for me to feel a lot of relief at the end.  I am not thrilled about the prospect of 3 weeks without T, but I am hopeful that I will continue to move forward.  I also have some fun stuff planned for that time, including a trip to see my best pal, so there is much to feel good about tonight.

June 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dreams

I’ve been keeping busy with work, time with the kid, and, okay, watching Mad Men (I’m on Season 2; all the talk about the current season got me curious enough to start watching).  Mostly have continued to feel relatively disconnected, except not entirely, and I want to write about those exceptions.

I’ve been dreaming a lot.  I wake up feeling really intensely emotional (either sadness or fear), and I want to go back to sleep and continue the dream, but then getting up to hit the snooze (which is across the room, because otherwise I’d never get up) erases the dream and I can’t get it back enough to reflect on it, let alone reenter it.  I know that one was about therapy, and then there was a person coming after me and I was hiding behind a door and then realized that there was no way they couldn’t see me, so I flung the door open and was just going to take whatever was coming, and that’s when my alarm went off.

I don’t know if it’s weird to want to go back into a bad dream.  I don’t feel that way with really awful nightmares, the ones where I wake up and feel intense relief that it isn’t real.  But if it’s a dream where I am sad or afraid, but not totally overwhelmingly so, I want to go back.  I think it’s because dreaming is where I allow myself to really feel things, and there is some release there.  And sometimes with the alarm going off, it’s like having to leave a movie theater like 15 minutes before the end of the movie, right when things are getting intense.

The thing about dreaming like that is that the emotions do kind of stick with me and pop up throughout the day.  And that kind of breaks down that wall of numbness/disconnect.  Yesterday I was driving to pick Boo up and I got hit in the chest with this wave of sadness, and while I’d rather feel happy than sad, I did feel a kind of relief as well.  Any time I’ve been feeling numb, any sort of deep feeling is a relief.  I can still feel!   I’ve also been feeling a lot of tenderness toward Boo, and deep joy in being with her.

Tonight I have therapy, and then there will be 3 weeks between sessions.  I have had moments where I thought I should just cancel the appointment, because what’s the point when I am this disconnected?  (I need a good synonym for “disconnected”!)  But then, over the last few days, I have had moments of not feeling that way–of looking forward to seeing T, of feeling like it can be a regular sort of session.  Right this moment, I don’t know what my deal was when I was thinking of canceling, but of course I might feel that way again in 10 minutes!

June 28, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disconnect

I am in the phase I call Disconnect, or Numb.

I’m not sure of the cause.

My last therapy session was uneventful.  We mostly talked about my father, and about letting that whole thing go (I think I can, or I hope already have).  I felt good about all of that.  Then we talked a bit about my mother–T asked whether I’d ever do a similar thing (like a letter) with her, and I said no, that I don’t anticipate ever having contact with her again.  With my father, there is some desire for a relationship, however limited.  My father was not abusive–maybe the phrase “benign neglect” is appropriate, or something like that.  Unlike my mother, my father is not a sadist.  There are, in summary, huge differences.

But anyway, I walked out of the session feeling good.  But also, apparently, upset.  Because I had thought that possibly we would start working on the “lower level,” but the session was entirely focused on my adult self.  Even though I knew, having sent that letter and had that exchange with my father, that that would have to be the main topic, I still felt disappointed.  Yet, the progress with my father needed to be talked about.  I almost wonder if I didn’t choose now (subconsciously) to address that as a way to avoid the deeper, harder stuff.  But I don’t think I did–Father’s Day was the trigger for all of that, not the impending Stage 2 work.

So what this means is that Stage 2 will wait until T comes back from vacation, in late July.  (I see her this week, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to stir things up and then have 3 weeks off from therapy.)  And that means that most of the summer is wasted in terms of deep work.  This has my protector parts unhappy and irritated.

But MAYBE I’M WRONG.  I think I need to change my thinking.  I am no longer in a place where I rely so much on T to be stable.  I think I can still do work while she is gone.  I just need to figure out what/how, and give myself some kind of structure that will allow for containment.  I don’t think it is going to be that deep work that it might otherwise be, but there must be a middle ground.

My brain has a hard time with middle ground.  It goes from vulnerable and open to shut down and numb, with no in between.  I am in numb/disconnect now.  T doesn’t seem like a real person to me right now.  I know this is temporary, because I have been here so many times before, but I still get unsettled by it.  By how easy it seems to just stop feeling that connection.  And what a pain to get it back.  If the past is any indicator, it will take a few sessions after she returns to feel comfortable again.  Then after maybe a week, she is gone again for one week (she is not usually gone much, but every summer, she’s gone for 2 weeks in July and one in August), so that will reset the Disconnect for another week or two.  And then school will be in session, and I’ll be slammed and busy.  Not that I can’t do Stage 2 during the school year (I will have to), but I see summer as this great opportunity to do deep work without having to juggle work stress with it, and I get SO frustrated when I spend the summer feeling numb and disconnected instead.

So I’m trying to avoid that, but I’m not sure how, since it feels beyond my control right now.  I would love to feel all emotional right now, but I feel pretty much Nothing.  I’m not unhappy; I’m not happy; I’m not depressed.  I’m not anything.  My last emotion was a serious anxiety attack after therapy, and it went away really quickly when I started breathing, and that was that.  Wait, that is not correct.  I have had emotions, but what I haven’t had is a sense of being in touch with parts.  I don’t know how to explain this for someone who doesn’t have parts, but it’s a very weird, kind of empty feeling to look inside and not feel anything there.  I have gotten so used to being tuned in, it’s unsettling to feel the disconnect because I always worry that it means something is wrong inside.  T says sometimes it just means there is no need for them to be feeling anything–there is no work for them to be doing, like they can just sleep or take a break because things are going okay.  I suppose that is possible, but it still stresses me out because sometimes things shut down because they are overwhelmed, and then it all hits me at once.

But I don’t feel overwhelmed, so who knows?  Maybe it’s all good.  I shouldn’t overthink it so much.

June 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment